7.62x39 - the fuel of the great, Kalashnikov rifle! It is probably the most widely used and easily available cartridge on the planet. Obviously because of the widespread use of AK-47’s. The cartridge is legendary in its own wake. The caliber has proven to be so effective and useful that even the AR-15 platform isn’t touched by it.
Here we will learn about this ‘east-and-west’ combination of the 7.62x39 cartridge with the AR-15 platform.
We will learn about the benefits of using this caliber and how you can transform your AR-15 to fire it. We will also review the best AR-15 7.62x39 uppers on the market, to let you choose one for your rifle. So, keep reading.
Comparison of the Best 7.62x39 AR Uppers
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What’s Unique About These Uppers?
Upper receivers are always caliber specific, whereas a lower receiver is not always. This means, that in order to shoot a 7.62x39 round from your AR-15, you need a specific upper receiver.
The bolt, chamber, and barrel are what make an upper receiver shoot a specific cartridge. There have been occasions when people tried to shoot like-sized bullets from closely chambered uppers, but that always ends up in a disaster sooner or later.
A 7.62x39 cartridge has a different size rim and dimensions compared to a 5.56 bullet. All the uppers included in this article can be swapped right away over an AR-15 lower to convert the caliber. Indeed, that’s the beauty of the AR-15 platform.
What’s the Benefit of Upgrading Your Upper?
Upgrading an AR-15 5.56 upper to a 7.62x39 has several benefits. All of these are related to the versatility of the 7.62x39 round, and its effectiveness over both short and long range.
The 7.62x39 cartridge is more powerful than the 5.56. They are bigger and have enough mass to kill a mid to big sized game humanely at about 300 yards. A 7.62x39 round carries more energy inside a range of 300 meters. However, after that, the bullet tends to drop significantly. It has more stopping power compared to the 5.56x45 cartridge, which makes it good for both hunting and self-defense.
The 7.62x39 is a versatile round. It can be used for hunting, practice, self-defense and almost every other use you can think of. The ballistics and power of the round make it quite effective within a range of 300 meters. Additionally, the 7.62x39 rounds have plenty of taper near the base, which promotes flawless extraction. Switching to a 7.62x39 upper allows you to use the AR-15 lower, which you are quite familiar with.
7.62x39 is manufactured and used in enormous quantities across the globe. It is one of the cheapest calibers available on the market. If you spend more time practicing with your rifle, using a 7.62x39 will save you a lot of money.
How to Choose a 7.62x39 AR Upper
Choosing the 7.62x39 AR upper is similar to choosing any upper receiver for the AR-15. There are just a few minor details you want to look at, and you’ll end up buying a receiver that lasts a lifetime.
Material and Build
Receivers are generally made from 7075 T6 aluminum. The most common material for upper receivers. But the catch here is the process used for manufacturing the receiver. Forged receivers tend to be the strongest but on the heavy side. Billet machined receivers are a good mix of durability and weight. Cast receivers, are not very durable but are quite lightweight.
Stripped vs. Complete
A complete receiver includes all the components such as the bcg, barrel, handguard, forward assist, and rails. However, a stripped receiver is just a block. Stripped receivers allow you to customize the rifle with parts of your individual preference. However, a complete receiver offers value for money and protects you from the hassle of finding parts.
The term compatibility is in accordance with both the lower receiver and other accessories. The upper must have an appropriate handguard and top rail to let you mount accessories and optics. Every upper reviewed in this article features an accessory compatible handguard and a top rail.
Review of the Best 7.62x39 AR Uppers
Based on the features of an ideal AR-15 7.62x39 upper receiver, we have handpicked some of the best 7.62x39 upper receivers on the market. These receivers are the best in their class and feature a fair price tag respective of their qualities.
PSA Gen2 KS-47 16" Carbine-Length Upper With BCG & CH
The KS-47 receiver is a deliberate mix of the AK-47 caliber and AR-15 platform. The receiver has been machined from Forged 7075 T6 aluminum. The upper bears the look of a classic M16 rifle, with the cylindrical handguard and front sight.
The receiver has been designed to work with the KS-47 lower since the rifle accepts only AK-47 magazines. The upper features integrated over-insertion tabs which prevent the bolt from dragging into the magazine.
The upper has a CMV 4150 steel barrel, which has a twist rate of 1:10 inches, plus a single large feed ramp to accommodate the 7.62x39 round. The barrel is nitride treated which helps with accuracy and easy cleaning. The muzzle end of the barrel features ⅝-24 threading and an A2 flash hider. The upper also includes the dust cover, forward assist and charging handle.
Coming to the bcg, it has been designed to work with AK-47 magazines. It features an extended firing pin and the bolt and carrier both have been made from nitride treated steel.
The PSA KS-47 receiver is a one-of-a-kind upper for building a reliable 7.62x39 rifle. The receiver accepts standard AK-47 magazines, which are readily available on the market. The handguard is a bit outdated, so you might have to replace it for mounting accessories.
PSA Gen2 KS-47 8.5" Pistol-Length 1/10 Nitride 7" Lightweight M-Lok Upper With BCG & CH
Looking for a compact AR-15 7.62x39 upper receiver? This is your answer. A short and upgraded version of the KS-47 series of receivers from PSA. The receiver has been manufactured from forged 7075 T6 aluminum and features a low profile pistol length gas block.
The upper has an 8.5-inch heavy profile barrel that can be used flawlessly for high volume shooting. The barrel has a twist rate of 1:10, and a muzzle thread of ⅝-24 to accept muzzle devices. Although it already comes installed with an A2 flash hider. The single large feed ramp of the barrel extension ensures the flawless operation of the receiver with 7.62x39 rounds.
The receiver has a free float handguard with M-lok holes to accept slings and other QD accessories. The handguard is lightweight, and its free-floating design doesn’t interfere with barrel harmonics.
The top rail runs throughout the receiver and the handguard, so you have ample space to mount extra accessories. The upper comes complete with a forward assist, dust cover, and bcg. In simpler terms, it is just a shortened version of the KS-47 receiver reviewed above.
The KS-47 pistol length rifle is ideal for self-defense situations and close range hunting. The heavy profile barrel makes strenuous shooting reliable. The gun can also be used for competitions.
Best for the Money:
Faxon Firearms ARAK-21 Upper Receiver
The ARAK-21 upper receiver is an ingenious blend of the AK-47 and the AR-15. To such an extent that the upper has a gas piston operated bolt like the AK-47. The gas block is adjustable so you can tune it pertaining to the kind of ammo you are shooting. Oh, and the only removable part of this assembly is the gas adjuster knob with four different settings.
The receiver has been fully machined from aircraft grade 6061 T6 aluminum, so durability is not a concern. The upper has a full-length rail on the top, and three other rails on the handguard, to let you mount accessories on all four sides of the handguard.
The non-reciprocating charging handle is ambidextrous and can be easily relocated from the left to right-hand side without any tools. The upper can be used by both left and right-handed shooters, by just rotating the position of the bolt.
The receiver also eliminates the need for using a buffer spring, since it features a self-contained mechanism like the AK-47.
The ARAK-21 upper receiver is something exceptionally new for AR-15 users. It is an AR-15 setup running an AK-47 mechanism. The gun can be instantly converted to left or right hand operated by a simple switch of components.
4. Radical Firearms RF Upper Assembly 16” 7.62x39 w/A2 Flash Hider
Radical Firearms is known to manufacture quality AR-15 uppers and parts. And this piece is an amazing example of their craftsmanship. The RF 7.62x39 is a semi-complete upper since it doesn’t include the bcg. However, it does have an intricately designed receiver, handguard, and barrel.
The RF upper has been made from forged 7075 T6 aluminum with a melonite coated heavy profile barrel. The barrel has a length of 16 inches and a twist rate of 1:10 inches, and an A2 flash hider on the muzzle end. The muzzle has been threaded with ⅝-24 threads to accept AK-47 compatible muzzle devices.
The upper also features a quite skeletonized M-lok handguard appropriate for mounting accessories. Picatinny rail on the top of the receivers runs all the way from the handguard to the charging handle. The upper comes complete with a forward assist and dust cover. However, it does not include a bcg.
This upper receiver from Radical firearms is a budget option for people who like to customize their rifles. The upper is almost complete and lacks only the bcg, which can be added depending upon your choice.
5. Grid Defense 7.62 Upper Receiver
This 7.62x39 upper receiver from Grid Defense features an aesthetically pleasing and durable upper design. The receiver features a 16-inch barrel made from 4150 chrome moly steel with a durable black nitride finish. The upper has a carbine length gas system, and a barrel twist rate of 1:10 which is ideal for shooting heavy grain ammo.
The entire upper receiver has been hardcoat anodized to resist wear and tear. The upper has a rail running over the receiver, whereas the handguard features patches on the rail on the front and rear ends to let you mount accessories. The handguard has M-lok ports to let you mount slings or any other compatible accessories. The upper comes complete with all the components except the bcg.
The Grid Defense AR-15 7.62x39 upper features good design, and properly balanced weight. The upper has nitride finished components that run smooth, and are easy to clean. The upper is good for both tactical and hunting applications.
The 7.62x39 cartridge is versatile in its applications and reliable in its nature. The rounds pack a lot of punch and can be used to knock down targets at a long range with sheer force. Adding a 7.62x39 upper provides you the power of heavy caliber, without letting you change your familiar AR-15 platform.